When Ella and her mom arrived for the first day of their art class for three-year-olds, Ella seemed like a quiet, shy little girl. The other children worked and played together while their parents were away, while Ella sat in her mother’s lap, quietly avoiding the other children.
On their third day in the group, I gently suggested her mom could take an hour for herself while Ella was with us; I was confident Ella would do well.
Nervous about leaving Ella alone, particularly in light of her apparent shyness, her mother decided to say goodbye and wait outside the room where she could hear how Ella was doing.
Though Ella had never before been away from her family, she began to interact with the other children, and turned out to be anything but shy. She appeared confident, focused and self-directed; with a little encouragement she was easily able to ask for what she needed and play with the other children. Soon enough, Ella’s mother was dropping her off and taking some much-needed time for herself during class.
Sending your little one into another’s care for the first time is a monumental experience. This first separation can bring up nervousness, doubt, mistrust, and grief for even the most even-keeled parents.
The process can be quite trying, but can also provide an opportunity for growth where you can examine your feelings and reaffirm your love to your child. Your child has an opportunity to master separating from you in a secure and confident way that keeps your attachment strong. In this article, we’ll explore some ways you can help your child make this transition with confidence and ease.